Africa’s fashion industry has caught the attention of international designers and inspired catwalks in fashion capitals like Paris, Milan and New York. But that has not been enough to get the industry to a place where it can contribute towards economic growth and sustainability on the continent. A recent report by the Africa Development Bank says the potential is huge but remains mostly untapped. Uche Okoronkwo reports.
(CNN) – An increasing number of designers on the continent are morphing from small tailor businesses into recognized and respected fashion houses, thanks to the internet.
In 2014, when Beyoncé was spotted wearing a skirt and jacket from South African brand Kisua, it sold out in days. The musician’s stylist had come across the brand online.
“The internet is a great leveler,” says Kisua’s Ghanaian founder Samuel Mensah. “The speed with which you can access markets and can generate awareness about your brand is unprecedented in the history of fashion.”
The e-commerce platform, launched in 2013, sells its own clothes and collaborates with other designers to create collections for its label. It was born out of Mensah’s travels around the continent as an economist.
A billion dollar market
If estimates by Mckinsey’s Global Institute prove fruitful, Africans could be buying $75 billion worth of goods and services online by 2025, taking into account the region’s recent economic slowdown. In Nigeria, the continent’s largest consumer market, revenue has doubled each year since 2010.
Read more… CNN
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